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EN2C2/EN3C2 The English Nineteenth-Century Novel


If you took the module in 2020-21 and need access to syllabus/assessment/reading material, that is all housed in the above tab "2020-21".


Module Convenor 2021-22: Dr Jen BakerLink opens in a new window (
My office is FAB 5.26.
My term time office hours are Mondays 11-12 and Thursday 11-12 Sign-up here

Teaching: Seminars per week: 1 (@1.30 hrs).
Lectures: There is one introductory lecture and five mandatory lectures spread across the year.
Total Contact Hours:
Module Duration: 2 terms (18 weeks)


This module explores the rise of the novel in the particular context of nineteenth-century Britain, responding to rapid social change and the correspondingly shifting understandings of class, gender, sexuality, nation and culture. The module considers the development of the novel form in relation to style, its publication context, and its supposed purpose, and its engagement with social and political topics such as masculinity, the new woman, sexuality, childhood, landscapes, Empire and Nation, dialogues between image and text, evolution, and illness. Novelists and texts from the popular to the literary, from the canonical to those often overlooked, are studied.


  • Two formative close-readings of c.1000 words (one per term)
  • Two summative essays
    Intermediate students: two 3,000-word essays
    Finalists: two 3,500-word essays.
  • Visiting Students see the assessment information on this pageLink opens in a new window.

Deadlines will be confirmed on your personal tabula.
The options for assessments will be made available on the "Assessments" tab above in term.

Indicative Syllabus

In 2021-22 we are studying C19th sources on "the Novel"; Maria Edgeworth Belinda; Walter Scott, Ivanhoe; Elizabeth Gaskell Mary Barton, Charlotte Bronte Villette; Charles Kingsley The Water Babies; Thomas Hardy Far From the Madding Crowd; H. Rider Haggard, She; George Gissing New Grub Street; H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds.These may change in other years.

Full Syllabus

The primary novels to buy or source online are listed hereLink opens in a new window. PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO MY EDITION NOTES.

What is required for you to read/watch each week (serial instalment, novel/part of novel, critical reading, and lectures) is outlined in the "Weekly Required Reading" tab above. On that page, there are also printable pdfs of tables that give an overview.

I have already started populating the further recommended reading and materials on the “Reading Material” subpage for wider reading and research, but will continually update this.

Content Note

Across the texts on this module, you will repeatedly come across (often casual) racist, xenophobic, sexist, classist slurs and attitudes. So too, allusions to potentially disturbing content such as sexual violence, violence (sometimes fatal) to others, animal cruelty, distressing scenes of death, are common. I want you to feel comfortable in talking to me about this one-on-one or in class. These are integral aspects of many texts and will need to be engaged with as part of our critical discourse - although you may find sometimes these aspects are not discussed in class unless you as students want to raise them.



The six chapters/articles I am offering below as further suggestions for the Summer will, without a doubt, help your understanding of some of the key issues and contexts we will discuss, and some of the different approaches we will take, across the module, and could be used at any time of the year if you don’t get a chance to read them in the coming summer months.

Some will be an easy read and some of the pieces you might find quite challenging – that’s okay, they *are* challenging and are meant to be. Take your time and makes notes.

  1. Terry Eagleton, “What is a Novel” from his monograph The English Novel: an introduction. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

  2. Edward Said, “Chapter Two: Consolidated Vision (I) Narrative and Social Space” from his monograph Culture and Imperialism, Chatto and Windus, 1994.

  3. Ronjaunee Chatterjee, et al. “Introduction: Undisciplining Victorian Studies.”

  4. David Sweeney Coombes, “Introduction” from his monograph Reading with the Senses in Victorian Literature and ScienceUniversity of Virginia Press, 2019.

  5. Joanne Shattock, “The Publishing Industry” in The Oxford History of the Novel in English: Volume 3: The Nineteenth-Century Novel 1820-1880, ed. John Kucich, and Jenny Bourne Taylor (Oxford, 2011; pubd online Mar. 2015), pp.3-21.

  6. Deborah Wynne, “Readers and Reading Practices” in The Oxford History of the Novel in English: Volume 3: The Nineteenth-Century Novel 1820-1880, ed. John Kucich, and Jenny Bourne Taylor (Oxford, 2011; pubd online Mar. 2015), pp.22-36.

You can also dip in and out of Companions and Handbooks such as the Oxford History of the English Novel Vol 2 (1750-1820) and Vol 3 (1820-1880) and the Oxford Handbook to the Victorian Novel which will help you contextualise genres and themes

Places to obtain texts:

The library has many of our texts in print or online and the correct editions will be listed on Talis Aspire and in the Reading Guidance documents. Remember that not every edition in the library will be the one we need – ensure you read any notes added to Talis and below about which edition to get.

Amazon isn’t the only place to get cheaper second-hand books. You can try second-hand book stores/charity shops or online book sellers, such as:

World of Books

Oxfam Books



You can also compare prices on this website:

Our Primary Materials will be detailed from the beginning of August, and all my wider reading recommendations for your own research and interests is available via the Reading Materials tab above.

Books to purchase

Preparation for week 1 seminar

Watch week 1 Introductory lecture
Read and annotate the pack of c19th articles and essays outside my office or in syllabus.


Lectures for 2021/22 will be available on the Module's Warwick Stream channel and linked to on the weekly reading guidance page.